Awards at festival’s tenth edition reflect its unique character as space for alternative film
Kochi, Oct 2: Before the end credits rolled on the tenth edition of the SiGNS digital video festival on Sunday, attendees at the valedictory function basked in awards glory as gongs for the best short films and documentaries were handed out.
Randu Kurippukal (Two Notes, 2015), a Malayalam short directed by Gireesh Kumar K., took home the SiGNS 2016 award for Best Short Fiction in competition. The award for Best Documentary in competition was shared between Bengali entry Tender is the Sight (2014), helmed by Torsha Bannerjee, and Vanishing Glaciers (2015), a production in Kashmiri, by Raja Shabir Khan.
The winning selections – the themes of which are in keeping with the festival’s unique subaltern character – were judged to be the best of strong fields in both competition categories by an eminent jury chaired by documentary filmmaker Rakesh Sharma with film critic Premendra Mazumdar and cinematographer Fowzia Fathima,
The function also saw the John Abraham Award for Best Malayalam Feature Film 2015, with Rs 1 lakh in prize money, awarded to P.S. Manu’s Munroe Thuruth. Special Mention awards for S. Sunil’s Marubhagam and Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Ozhivudivasathe Kali were also handed out
“It is heartening to note that the short film and documentary scene in India is vibrant and thriving. Especially impressive was the varied range of thematic concerns as well as narrative styles and cinematic treatments in the selected films,” said Sharma, who delivered the jury report during the closing ceremony at Ernakulam Town Hall.
Recommending greater emphasis on films about contemporary social, economic and political complexities, he commended the inclusion of films on the LGBTQ community’s concerns as also other films probing issues surrounding culture and gender.
The Best Short Fiction and Documentary awards carry prize money of Rs 50,000 each, while awards for ‘Cinema of Resistance’ – short feature or documentary on subjects like state oppression, human rights, environmental issues, gender equality, social/cultural identity – and ‘Cinema Experimenta’ – for best experimental effort – each come with Rs 25,000. All prize money is shared equally between producer and director and all awards carry a Certificate of Merit and memento
The jury also handed out special awards to Kamuki (Sweetheart, 2015) directed by Christo Tomy and Leeches (2016), a Urdu-Dakhani production from Payal Sethi, in the short film competition. In the Shade of Fallen Chinar (2016), directed by Shawn Sebastian and Fazil N.C., received a special jury award in the documentary competition.
Special mention went to Nina Sabnani’s animation film Hum Chitra Banathe Hai (We Make Images, 2016).
The ‘Cinema of Resistance’ award went to director Biju Toppo’s The Hunt (2015) while Agli Baar (And then they came for me, 2015), directed by Devashish Makhija, received a special jury award. The ‘Cinema Experimenta’ award went to Sabin Alun (2015), a Karbi-language production by Altaf Majid, with Indranil Kashyap’s Kula (2016) getting a special jury award.
The Federation of Film Societies of India (FFSI) award for Best Malayalam Short Fiction went to Kamuki, while Vidhu Vincent’s Vrithiyude Jathi (Caste of Cleanness, 2014) won the award for Best Malayalam Documentary.
The closing ceremony saw FFSI Vice-President Chelavoor Venu deliver the welcome address with noted filmmaker K.R. Mohanan presiding.
“This tenth edition of the SiGNS festival will be remembered for recording the highest-ever participation at this pioneering festival,” Mohanan said. The final tally of registered delegates at the five-day festival had reached nearly 1,200.
Following a primer on the FFSI and SiGNS, by the festival’s Executive Director V.K. Joseph, SiGNS Artistic Director Dr C.S. Venkiteswara presented the festival report.
Along with K.R. Mohanan, celebrated filmmakers K.G. George and Lenin Rajendran as also Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) Secretary Riyas Komu and KBF Trustee Bonny Thomas were guests of honour on the evening.
SiGNS Festival Coordinator K.G. Mohankumar delivered the vote of thanks.
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